Syria, Russia renew talks after eight years
Syria and Russia signed on Friday, may 18, an agreement covering comprehensive bilateral cooperation. The agreement was signed between Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Al-Imadi and Russian Minister of Industry Alexander Dondokov in Moscow, reported the Daily Star.
After an eight-year long suspension period, the Syrian-Russian joint Committee has recently met in Moscow to discuss the revitalizing the group’s meetings, according to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily. These meetings are an important factor in boosting bilateral economic relations. The committee discussed proposals for joint gas and oil excavation and exploration projects. Also on the agenda was the establishment of joint companies, which will deal with the drilling and repairing of oil and gas wells.
The bilateral deal signed Friday covers all aspects of mutual cooperation in the fields of finance, culture, commerce, education, trade and infrastructure. Special emphasis will be placed on improving trade, and on exporting Syrian fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and meat to Russia. The textile industry, which has been traditionally exporting to Russia but recently experiencing decline, will also be given special attention.
According to the Daily Star report, Syrian gas reserves, a priority with the current government, were also regarded within the framework of the protocol, which pledges Russian support to extract, invest in, and upgrade Syria’s gas reserves. An emphasis is also placed on road construction, railroad projects, civil aviation, and health services.
Dondokov described Syria’s economic relations with Russia as historically strong, pointing out that the current administration in Moscow wished to “re-activate economic and commercial ties with Damascus to a stage in which they were before,” said the paper. He added that in the past, trade between both countries had reached $1 billion. In Moscow, he claimed, “there was a definite will to reactivate these ties.”
Other parts of the agreement relate to cultural and educational cooperation. An implementation follow-up meeting for the agreement was scheduled for the first half of the year 2002 in Damascus. ― (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)